13 New Car Technology Systems that Show the Force is Definitely With You

New car technology is advancing faster than ever; here are 13 systems that protect, assist and delight so you can relax and enjoy the ride.

2023 Lexus Rx Head Up Display. May The 4Th Be With You On Star Wars Day. Photo: Scotty Reiss
May the 4th be with you on Star Wars Day: Lexus head up display is helpful, futuristic tech. Photo: Scotty Reiss



Star Wars Day should be every day.

Cars have gotten incredibly smart. It’s like all those years ago, the movie Star Wars predicted what transportation will be like: Cars can see way down the road, and through traffic ahead. They can see the driver next to you and his unintended trajectory as he drifts from his lane. If you’re in a modern car, you get it: New car technology is there, watching, protecting and co-piloting.

They can respond to the sound of your voice, calculate how much energy it’ll take to get up the hill and walk sideways up the hill if it’s necessary. 

You can hand off your key to a friend in a text, let your Amazon driver deliver a package to your trunk and open and drive your car with only your image.

You can drive without touching the steering wheel or the brake. If you have these systems in your car, you don’t have to have wish “May the 4th be with you.” It already is.

Enjoying The New Car Technology In The 2022 Volvo Xc90 Recharge Phev T8.

Kymri Wilt and Jill Robbins in the 2022 Volvo XC90 Recharge PHEV T8. Photo: Kymri Wilt

You Might Want to Buckle Up

If all this seems advanced, get ready for warp speed. With electric cars, more distance, more speed and more capability, new car technology is likely to advance further and faster than ever before. 

But as you shop, you want to be sure your car has you back; that the Force is with you. Here are 13 features and the cars that have them, that will keep you safer, more relaxed and more comfortable — or deliver more thrill— than ever. 

Lexus Head Up Display Is Great New Car Technology. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Great new car technology: Lexus head up display is helpful, futuristic tech. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Force That’s With You: 13 New Car Technology Features that Have Your Back

1. Head Up display

Pilots use this projection display to put key metrics such as speed, direction and engaged systems on the windshield in front of them. Many luxury and performance cars have them, and more and more automakers are adding this as a safety system. Our favorite is the Lexus system that also uses touch-sensitive pads on the steering wheel to control what you see in the HUD; just swipe your finger around the control pad to highlight and select the systems you want active.

2. Voice Activation 

We’ve gotten to know Alexa and Google at home, but many new cars also have a “Hey [insert name of car] feature that allows you to ask for what you want, hands free. Just say “Hey, Toyota” and your assistant is at your command to set the radio station, set the cabin temperature and more. 

3. One Pedal Driving

Cars such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6, Kia EV6, Tesla and BMW have one-pedal driving systems and they will change your life. Rarely, if ever, will you need the brakes; you’ll simply regulate the accelerator pedal: ease your foot off it to slow, take it completely off to stop. This is a game changer that we can’t wait for everyone to try.

4. Electric Car Apps

Many electric cars will use your navigation destination to calculate how much energy you’ll need to reach your destination and tell you how many miles will be left on the range when you arrive. Some even calculate based on terrain, accounting for hills, traffic and speed limits. The Ford F-150 Lightning takes it a step further, using scales built into the bed to add the weight of the truck, trailer and bed cargo. 

Talk About Futuristic New Car Technology, The Small Dot In Front Of The Media Dial Is A Finger Print Recognition Pad

Talk about futuristic new car technology, the small dot in front of the media dial is a finger print recognition pad. Photo: Scotty Reiss

5. Facial and Fingerprint Recognition

Genesis GV60 was the first to offer this but we’ll see more of it soon: You can set up the camera built into the outside of the car to recognize your face and allow you access to the car; once in the driver’s seat, use the fingerprint recognition to start and drive the car. Then, use your face to lock the car again. Never, ever worry about losing a key.

6. A Truly Wide Screen

When Lincoln rolled out the 2024 Nautilus we were stunned, and mesmerized, by a multimedia screen that spans the entire cabin of the car. From one door to the other and beyond. And it’s brilliant. It cascades key information across the screen, allows customization and you can even turn it off if you’d like. It’s more than entertaining, it’s innovative and it —or some form of it —will become a standard. 

7. Hyper Screen

Another play on the all-encompassing screen is the Hyper Screen from Mercedes Benz in the top of the line electric EQS. This screen spans the dashboard, ballooning in the center to accommodate all the functions you can think of. On the passenger’s side the screen is available for passenger scrolling or viewing, though it’s dimmed to the driver so as not to (further) distract. The overall effect of the Hyper Screen is super futuristic and luxurious, if only for the innovative size and shape of this screen.

8. Hands Free Driving

GM rolled out Super Cruise in its top Cadillac models and won the raves of critics who were skeptical of Tesla’s “self-driving” claims. Now, GM includes the tech in many of its cars and SUVs such as the Hummer EV, Chevrolet Bolt and others. This hands free system allows a true hands free driving on limited access, mapped highways, such as Interstates. It still requires the driver to pay attention, monitoring your eyes, but to be able to take your hands off the wheel and let the car change lanes is incredible. Ford offers a similar system called BlueCruise, and there will be others… very soon.


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9. Crab Walk

A car that ‘drives’ sideways? It might come in handy to get out of a sticky situation or into a tight parking spot, and it’s a feature we’ll see more of as more manufacturers add rear wheel steering. We tested this out in the GMC Hummer EV and it was impressive; the feeling of the car moving sideways is surreal— except when you know that’s the only way to go, and then you’re grateful.

10. Adaptive Cruise and Lane keep Assist

This may be the most Star Wars-like feature and the most common; it’s also the one that continues to advance the most. Systems like Nissan’s CoPilot 360 and Kia’s DriveWise sync the suite of driver assist and safety features so you can turn on cruise control and the car monitors traffic for dozens of yards ahead, to either side and behind you to ensure you stay in your lane, keep a safe speed and that you’re protected from hazards around you. 

May The 4Th Be With You On Star Wars Day: Apple Carplay Displayed On The Mercedes-Benz Eqs Hyper Screen. Photo: Connie Peters

Apple CarPlay displayed on the Mercedes-Benz EQS Hyper Screen. Photo: Connie Peters

11. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

This one, too, isn’t new, but it’s great: Connect your phone and you’re connected to your world: your messages, your maps, your Spotify and your Zoom calendar. How nice to have a first mate that isn’t a whining Wookiee.

12. Rear seat monitor

This one, too, has become commonplace and we’re grateful: Open the rear door, start the car, drive, turn the car off and a message displays in the driver information screen to remind you that you left something in the back seat. Intended to keep babies and pets safe, it’s no doubt rescued gallons of ice cream from ruining the upholstery and restaurant leftovers from twice baking in the summer sun (and leaving an indelible fragrance behind).

13. Park Assist

This might be the most novel of all the got-your-back technologies in cars, unless you are someone who can really use this. We learned this first hand in the Chevrolet Equinox as Tiffany Yu used it to parallel park on her way to a summer hike. 

Park assist essentially takes over steering and often, gear changes, braking and acceleration while you act as captain of the car. Once you activate the system you’ll get prompts as the car parks itself. This is great for people with limited mobility or limited sight— enough to drive but a challenge when it comes to parking. And it’s a game changer for those who are parallel parking challenged.  

We could have listed more… there is so much revolutionary new car technology on the market right now. And that is only going to grow. But each new innovation is a small revolution and a step toward the future of driving: Fun, relaxing, intriguing, engaging, tech-forward driving. And, the 4th is always with you.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss